Livingstone memorializes the sale of Messenger for Prairie Capital

  • sep. 2015
  • Industrial
  • M&A: Sell-Side
  • US

Livingstone is pleased to announce the sale of Messenger Holding Corp. (“Messenger” or the “Company”), a portfolio company of Prairie Capital, to Orchard Holdings Group. Livingstone advised Messenger and Prairie Capital. Deal terms were not disclosed.

Located in Auburn, Indiana, Messenger is a leading manufacturer and marketer of memorial stationery, specialty products, and innovative technologies to funeral homes across North America. Messenger’s products are used in connection with memorial services.

“Prairie was an exceptional partner to Messenger, providing strategic guidance and capital to pursue add-on acquisitions, infrastructure investments, and other business enhancement initiatives,” said Kevin Keane, President of Messenger. “We are thrilled to now partner with Orchard, a high-integrity firm with a uniquely long-term investment horizon, and to continue expanding upon Messenger’s market leadership position.”

Messenger boasts many compelling investment attributes that align particularly well with family office buyers. Orchard is ideally positioned to capitalize on the long-term demographic tailwinds that will drive stable growth in the funeral products industry for many decades.

“Livingstone advised early on that a family office was the best long-term partner for Messenger, and a sale process should be tailored to enhance the probability of attracting such a buyer,” said Nate Good, Partner at Prairie. “Livingstone’s customized process resulted in an attractive outcome for all stakeholders on a fast timetable with minimal business disruption.”

Over the last three years, Livingstone has completed nearly ten sell-side transactions involving alternative financial buyers such as family offices and independent financial sponsors.

“Family offices can provide a more flexible investment mandate and a longer investment horizon, enabling this alternative buyer category to become increasingly active across the mid-market,” said Ryan Buckley, Director at Livingstone. “We understood Messenger’s attractiveness as a long-term investment, which led us to craft a tailored sale process to ensure family office buyers would engage in the opportunity.”

Livingstone is no stranger to private equity transactions within the funeral products industry, having previously sold Aurora Casket Company to Kohlberg & Co. in 2012. “The characteristics of the funeral products industry include long-term stability, insulation from economic cycles, and high barriers to entry,” said Andy Isgrig, Partner at Livingstone. “Livingstone’s growing network of family office relationships will continue to provide attractive exit alternatives for clients seeking these unique attributes.”

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP served as legal counsel to Messenger and Prairie. Orchard was represented by Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL. Freeport Financial provided staple debt financing for the acquisition.

About Prairie Capital
Prairie Capital is a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on facilitating ownership transitions for lower middle market companies. Prairie targets companies with annual recurring revenue and cash flow of at least $20 million and $4 million, respectively. Prairie is typically the first institutional investor in these companies, with an aim toward growing and professionalizing the businesses. Since its inception in 1997, Prairie has partnered with talented entrepreneurs and experienced management teams across 84 platform investments, investing in the aggregate approximately $850 million. Prairie is currently investing from its fifth fund, the $300 million, Prairie Capital V, L.P.

Orchard Holdings
Orchard, based in Cincinnati, is a private investment firm that invests non-institutional, private, family capital in businesses with the potential to create substantial long-term value. The firm typically invests $10 million to $40 million of capital per transaction in businesses with $25 million to $250 million in revenue.

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